A 5-Step Guide To A Picky Eater Lunchbox

Picky Eaters love real food, too | Nourish Real Food

Byline: Sara Bradford

It’s back-to-school and everyone is thinking about lunchbox packing. Which lunchbox vessels to buy, what ideas you can come up with, and how you’re going to send a lunchbox that comes home empty.

While an exciting time for many of you and the chance to return to routine, the lunchbox brings up a range of emotions that is unique to anything I’ve seen as a nutritionist. This is ESPECIALLY TRUE when you are a parent that gets to pack A Picky Eater Lunchbox.

There is a very good chance you have a particular someone in your home that’s going to make packing lunches a challenge, that will test your patience beyond supermom capabilities. What about our “picky eaters” that just won’t eat anything we want them to eat? What then?

Well, you see…the picky eater (as we call them) are just little creatures with undeveloped palates. And it frustrates us to all heck when we feel they have control over this food thing. But perhaps that is where we’ve gone wrong. Perhaps we must all make an attitude shift. And instead remind ourselves of the reason they eat this way. And how to prevent it from making us crazy.

This is where I use my “very-experienced-lunchbox-building-nutritionist-mama” advice that COULD possibly change your life.

Focus On What They Will Eat!

What?

Yeah, instead of wasting all that energy on why they don’t eat broccoli, praise them for eating green beans. Instead of turning inside out because they turn their nose up at chicken, hide some lentils in their homemade muffin.

And please stop saying to yourself that you HAVE to give them baloney sandwiches because it’s one of the only 5 things they’ll eat. Guess what, your list just got shorter…and easier!

Here are FIVE special ways to pack a picky eater lunchbox – that may even make you stop using the words “picky eater”.

#1: Master List

Make a master list of ALL…and I mean ALL the foods your simple-palated lovely likes to eat. You will be AMAZED at how long this list actually is.

#2: Skip The Crap Food (like baloney)

Part of developing a palate is “un-developing” a taste for the bad foods. I taught a workshop once on the sense of taste at a YMCA. I was SHOCKED to discover kids there who thought the (rather unbearably) “sweet” tasting water was nothing but water. They consumed so much sugar that it tasted like nothing. This is easy to change once sugar is removed or reduced.

#3: Hide Stuff In Stuff

Eventually they’ll try new things. Just not yet. In the meantime, get that nutrition INTO them by adding pureed vegetables, fruits, beans, or whatever into what they will eat.

Example: My daughter, picky-eater-extraordinaire, eats chili (of all things). You’d be amazed at what I can hide in there. It’s awesome.

#4: Empower Them

Let them choose the vegetable you pack in the lunchbox. Or ask them what fruit they want today. Don’t be crazy-mom and ask what their choice of protein is – work with what they understand. (Do you want cheese or hummus?)

#5: Substitute Good For Better

They want chocolate milk? Give them raw milk with homemade chocolate syrup – or even give dairy-free milk alternatives a go. They want cooked carrots? Slather them with some kind of high quality fat. They want a banana muffin? Make it with fresh ground spelt flour with pureed lentils, natural sweeteners and hippy chocolate chips.

And continue to inspire. Don’t be a fuss-pot yourself. Try new things in front of them. Their curiosity will be piqued.

Most of all, know that you are doing just fine. You’ll both be laughing about this over raw oysters and kombucha in 15 years. Happy Back-To-School! xo

Sara Bradford | Nourish Real FoodSara Bradford is owner/founder of Nourish ~ Real Food and a registered holistic nutritionist. She gets asked time and time again how she maintains her lunchbox enthusiasm. But, somewhere along the line, she was blessed with a burning desire to create the most healthy, delicious, colourful lunch boxes for her kids – and decided to take her years of experience as a Holistic Nutritionist and shower you with healthy lunchbox recipes.
On her site, you can find Sara’s lunchbox blog, her upcoming Think Inside the Lunchbox e-book, Lunchbox Kitchen TV videos, and check out her upcoming 30-Day Lunchbox Building Challenge and sign-up for her free newsletter.

The Number 1 Way To Get Greens In Kids (and You)

Byline: Cristina Cavalieri D’Oro

Boy and Healthy Broccoli Diet on WhiteDo you struggle to get greens in your kids, let alone yourself? Do you strive for them to actually WANT to eat greens and reap the benefits from it? Ask most kids to name vegetables and they will name the standard ones like carrots, potatoes, broccoli etc.

From kale to spinach, bok choi, fennel and collards! Wouldn’t you love for them to want to eat these, let alone them actually knowing what these diverse greens are?

So what is the number 1 way to get greens in kids (and most adults)? It’s pretty simple, make it TASTY and FUN!

Who says eating your broccoli has to be a chore or something that you must eat before getting dessert?

I say, go crazy and add a leaf of spinach here, there and everywhere. There really is no limit to your creativity. The more you add in, the more they will crave it and the nasty stuff will generally phase out if that was part of their diet (yes I’m talking about you refined, processed and artificial foods).

Make it accessible, have a plate of cut up veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, celery or cucumber sticks on the table with zucchini or chickpea hummus available for snacking when those little hands come looking in the kitchen with the munchies. Kale chips are always a winner too!

And let’s face it, kids love sweets, so why not always add some greens in their desserts? Using whole foods and greens, yes they can be healthy too!

Here is a really quick and easy chocolate recipe.

Chocolate à la Fennel Recipe

chocolate fennelIngredients

    • ½ cup cacao
    • ½ cup carob
    • 2 tbsp fennel (the leafy part)
    • 2 ½ tbsp maple syrup
    • ½ cup coconut oil (melted)
    • 2 tbsp coconut butter (melted)

Directions

Process everything into your food processor and put in chocolate molds. Refrigerate until hard.

Note: If you want to avoid giving cacao, you can use carob instead.

 

author picA health and natural living enthusiast for over 15 years, as a health coach, Cristina is especially passionate about wellness to empower the female spirit. As a mother of two girls, Cristina leads her household through mindful parenting, healthy nutrition, and loves to find creative ways to incorporate greens into meals and desserts. She can be found at For The Love of Greens and on her Facebook page.

 

Gluten-Free Zucchini and Tomato Cream Sauce Recipe

Recipe by Jessica Cummings

Gluten-Free Zucchini and Tomato Cream Sauce Recipe

Get the creaminess without the heaviness (and guilt!). This is a play on a dish my mom used to make when I was growing up. Her recipe called for lots of heavy cream, cheese and fusilli pasta. While I am all for indulging once in a while, we need some weeknight staple meals like this – clean eats that taste like cheats! This dish can be made in 20 minutes, is super satisfying and doesn’t leave you with a food “hangover.”

Gluten-Free Zucchini and Tomato Cream Sauce Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion or 2 shallots, sliced thinly or diced
  • 2 zucchini, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup almond or soy milk, plain, unsweetened
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch crushed red pepper
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • fresh parsley
  • cooked brown rice, quinoa or pasta

DIRECTIONS:

  1. “Cream” sauce prep: pulse the cashews in a food processor until crumbly. Add in milk and blend until well combined.
  2. In a large pan, over medium heat, add olive oil and sauté onion or shallots and a pinch of salt for 3-4 minutes, or until they begin to become translucent.
  3. Add sliced zucchini and garlic, stir for 30 seconds, partially cover, and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Add in tomatoes, stir, and cook an additional 4-7 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes – until the zucchini is tender and starts to brown.
  4. Quickly re-pulse the “cream” sauce to make sure it is well combined. Uncover your sauté pan, turn the heat down to low, and add the sauce, nutmeg, crushed red pepper, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper to taste. Let this cook, uncovered, a minimum of 2 minutes for the flavors to meld and thicken up (I usually let mine go a little longer, 5-10 minutes).
  5. Serve over brown rice, quinoa or pasta and top with fresh parsley, fresh black pepper.

 

JessicaCummings

Jessica Cummings is a board certified holistic health counselor. As Your Wellness Lioness, she helps women (in their  jam-packed, successful & stressful lives) make the time to claim their health and peace of mind. She is passionate about empowering women with the ability to tune into their bodies and understand not only their nutritional needs and cravings, but their emotional ones as well. Jessica is the creator of www.JessicaCummings.com where she runs online nutrition programs and shares recipes, expert tips and inspirations. She currently resides in Wilmington, NC, and gets her toes in the ocean as often as she can.

How to Find the Healthiest Plant Foods at the Market

This is a guest post by Jenny Prince.

mineralRichAs a longtime vegan turned real foodist, incorporating meat and dairy back into my diet has been a mental struggle. I still cling pretty tightly to that idea that I can satisfy my nutritional needs without disturbing other living creatures. Beans, grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies are still my go-to daily fuel.

However, as a passionate food grower, I’m well aware that many plant foods just don’t stack up nutritionally. Not because they don’t have the potential to be healthy foods, but simply because they were raised without any real attention to their nutritional outcome. I say it’s high time we, as shoppers, figure out how to compare apples to apples, just so that we can always buy the healthier apple.

What if you had a sure-fire way to identify exactly which plant foods at market were the most nutrient-dense and mineral-rich?

No problem. I can totally help you do this.

Calling on all of my experiences as a lifelong gardener and organic soil analyst, I came up with an entirely simple way of finding these nutritional superstars – and it was inspired by pure, spooky fear. Like, horror movie-style.

My girl, proudly chomping on some spinal column

My girl, proudly chomping on some spinal column

My scary story, like all good scary stories, is based on real-life events. I didn’t have a close call with a disease or spend any time in the hospital, but it was definitely a nutritional nightmare.

For three years, I kept finding body parts.

My dog and I take a lot of long walks; we visit about 6 different trails within 40 minutes of home. Over the past few years, I‘ve started to notice bones hanging from the trees everywhere we go. Big, long animal bones, usually still connected (as in femur-kneecap-tibia). I was starting to get pretty creeped out.

Finally, I decided to consult some experts about these bones. Posting in a Real Foods Facebook forum, I asked my most outdoorsy friends:
bones
I figured one of these mountain-dwelling brewers, dairy farmers, scientists, chefs, or organic gardeners would know. And guess what? Seemed like everybody knew but me. Multiple replies confirmed this magical forest tradition:

Hunters return the bones of animals to the forest to decompose. They do this just to keep the soil system rich in minerals.

Why do they care about the soil system? Because they care deeply about plant foods.

Because hunters know that removing minerals (bones) from the forest puts the entire soil system in jeopardy, they also realize that it puts the deer population at risk. If the forest is not able to produce mineral-rich plant foods, then there won’t be any deer left to hunt.

The creepy truth is that:

Plant foods cannot sustain life unless they are mineral-rich.

Now you probably see why I got myself so worked up, huh?

So, what’s the easiest way for a health-minded shopper to source mineral-rich plant foods?

Find a veggie vendor at the farmers market who also sells eggs. Really.

Then you’ll know that your veggies were grown alongside chickens and their shells (remember: animal, vegetable, mineral!). If you can’t get to a farmers market, then ask someone at the health food store if they stock produce from any ‘diversified’ farms.

mineralRichPlantFood

Diversified farming incorporates animals and vegetables together, in efforts to keep a healthy soil system. Generally speaking, the vegetables grown on diversified farms alongisde animals are often richer in minerals than other options.

Have you found a good source of high quality vegetables in your area? What makes you feel good about buying your veggies there?

smJennyJenny Prince is a professional vegetable gardener and soil mineralizer,
as well as the author of Eat Like a Farm Girl: 3-Ingredient Plant-Based Recipes.
She shares her love for all things vegetable at jennygrows.com

Top 10 blog posts on Raw Foods Witch

Don’t have the time to go through the whole spellbinding archives? Start by the top 10 blog posts on Raw Foods Witch!

Why It’s Easier to Go Raw Than To Become Vegan

Who knew that going raw could be easier than just vegan? This post clearly explains that choosing a raw diet is not only easier, but also healthier than the common vegan diet.

7 Reasons I have a Love / Hate Relationship with Raw Food

There are always two sides to a medal, and having a raw diet makes no exception. Changing your diet can sometimes have an important impact on your everyday life. Discover the ups and downs of a life in the raw.

The Importance of Investing in Yourself & Your Health Without Giving Up

Changes towards a healthy lifestyle require commitment. By investing in yourself, you’re not only taking the first and necessary step towards a healthier self, but you’re also putting the basis of a sustainable self improvement.

9 Ways Raw Food Changed My Life

More than helping you to look and feel better, incorporating more raw foods in your diet can have surprising other benefits.

Set Yourself Up for Raw Success

Changing your diet can definitely bring some joy, but the road can also get rocky too. Avoid the common roadblocks of your journey to raw foods, and gear up for success with raw coaching. The group coaching session here might be already over, but personalized one on one coaching sessions are still offered.

21 Ways to Sneak More Vegetables Into Your Diet

Whether you’re a long-time raw foodist or just starting to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle, this post give you creative ideas to beef-up your daily vegetables intake.

Healthy Desserts: 28 Healthy Dessert Recipes in the Raw

Why do we love sweet food so much? It doesn’t really matter since you now have 28 healthy desserts you can eat everyday. This means 28 other delicious reasons to try raw food today!

How to Stay Raw When Dining Out at Restaurants

You don’t have to sacrifice your social life when committing to a raw diet. This post gives you great tips and ideas to eat raw at omnivore’s restaurants.

Why Food Allergies for Nuts, Gluten, and Milk are on the Rise and What to do About It

Food allergies and intolerances can silently sabotage your health. This video post clearly explains how food allergy works and what you can do to spot and prevent it to develop.